When Anderson Silva and Chris Weidman face off in the octagon for the second time this year – it will be the final match in what has been a great year for MMA in 2013.
Not bad for a sport celebrating its 20th anniversary, which was initially compared to human cock fighting by some back in the day. If UFC has its way, Silva-Weidman 2 will be the exclamation point they are looking for to cap off the year.
The momentum started when the UFC used a world tour to promote Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson, Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos, Georges St-Pierre vs. Johny Hendricks, Ronda Rousey vs. Meisha Tate II and Silva vs. Weidman II. All five fights have been or will be for championship belts in their respective divisions. If the three matches which have already occurred are any indication as to what lies ahead we are in for some fireworks in Vegas in 2 weeks.
Jones and Gustafsson kicked off things in September – the fight allowed us to see Jones pushed to the brink while previewing a new must-see fighter in Gustafson as a "Fight of the Year" candidate. Despite winning in close unanimous fashion, Jones took so much punishment, he will not be defending his belt again until UFC 170 in March against Glover Teixeira in Dallas.
Next up was UFC 166 in Houston, where Velasquez/Dos Santos III went down and I was fortunate to have a cage side seat for all this action packed card. Both Cain and Junior went to war for a third time, with Cain coming out the clear winner.
But, this will be remembered for the action packed card it was from top to bottom. We had three brutal knockouts on the night and a fight if not, round of all-time candidate in Diego Sanchez vs. Gilbert Melendez which brought everyone to their feet at Toyota Center.
The main event was such a physical war that both Velazquez and Dos Santos are expected to be out half of 2014 as they recover from severe injuries suffered in their hellacious fight.
Now, we fast forward into what many, including myself, are calling the robbery of the year at UFC 167: St-Pierre vs. Hendricks.
GSP, despite all of his great accomplishments in the UFC, was outclassed in every form clearly in three of the five rounds in just about everyone's opinion with the exception of the judges who scored the fight. Although Hendricks won on one card, it was not enough to take the belt strap from the long-time Welterweight Champion as GSP won on the other two score cards to retain the title.
The decision was so alarming an upset Dana White went on a much need rant about how the NSAC needs to change the way they do business ASAP moving forward.
Now, we are off to the entree of these buffet of fights were we have to rematches for belts. In the Rousey vs. Tate tilt, I’m clearly expecting a rather game and much smarter version of Tate.
For those unfamiliar with UFC or did not watch an episode of the latest installment of the Ultimate Fighter – it is easy to see the intense hostility between these two combatants. It will be very interesting to see how Rousey responds if she forced to fight a second round since she never been there in her short MMA career.
Lastly, the fight world including myself wants to see with a passion Silva vs. Weidman II. It is no secret Weidman shocked the world this summer with his vicious knockout of Silva but, in many eyes he will have to do it again to prove it was not a fluke.
Be on the lookout for a more focused Silva despite having to go through deep waters to pull out a victory. Silva is too great to make the same mistake, and I look forward to watching him show the world once again, that he is the Greatest of All-Time.
Now that is the way to cap off an awesome year. UFC, I cannot wait to see what you have in store for 2014.
Kendrick Johnson is an independent sports television, radio, and print journalist. He can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @kendrickjohnso
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